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España ‘82

By Mr Grumpy - Thu 14th Feb 2013

Looking back, I think that the first time I ever became aware of the very existence of a country called Spain was during the Football World Cup of 1982.

I was a snotty-nosed 9 year old at the time, and anything further away than Bridlington was considered positively exotic, and practically the other side of the world.

My class at school back then did a project to celebrate the world cup, where a large part was dedicated to learning about each of the participating countries – paying particular attention to Spain, as the host country.

I can also recall how the England World Cup football team was based in Bilbao for the opening 2 weeks of the tournament, and can remember struggling with the pronunciation of the name of the city... who in their right mind would place 2 vowels in such proximity at the end of a place name ?

Little did I know that many-a better educated adult would also struggle with the same issue today.

As a short-trousered soap-dodger, I can also recall how I imagined the likes of Peter Shilton, Brian Robson and Kevin Keegan spending their free evenings after training sunning themselves on the beaches of Bilbao, whilst gorging themselves on Paella and copious amount of Sangria.

I must admit that I was quite possibly way into my twenties until it dawned on me just how ridiculous this stereotype actually was.

- You would have thought that after actually having visited Bilbao I would have learned from this – but no.

Just last week I had cause to visit the west coast of the Republic of Ireland on business, yet still returned home sorry not to have encountered some septuagenarian farmer in bar, nursing a pint of Guinness with a small piglet perched on his lap.

Misconceptions and stereotypes, it seems, have been the bane of my life and the source of many-a disappointment, but I wouldn’t be without them for all the world.

Comment on this Blog

I can recall my exitement when I completed the Panini 1982 World Cup Sticker album... Do they still do them ?
Tyler - Wed, 27th Feb 2013
Sareb : Of course I remember Narajnito - I managed to complete the entire "Pannini" '82 sticker album, with the exeption of Oleg Bochin and Pat Jennings, but I bear up well under the stigma of such childhood deprivation.
Mr Grumpy - Sun, 17th Feb 2013
Ah! España'82. Maybe you were lucky and knew nothing of "Naranjito" and his friends (official cartoons of Spain's World Football Cup). And the sheikhs of Kuwait!: one of them want to pass in the Valladolid Stadium with three or four of his camels! And last but not least: Italians rediscovered Spain and, since then, we have the very latinos in our beaches and our cities. We, Spaniards, never regret enough the "Mundial 82".
Sareb El Malo - Sat, 16th Feb 2013

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